Kabul, 30th July 2020: An Afghani 16-year-old girl named Negin Afshar takes up motocross and champions women’s rights.
According to Reuters, a 16-year-old Negin Afshar rides a motorbike in the dirt tracks of Kabul, showing that Afghan women can be tough too in a country where concerns are growing that hard-earned rights might be lost.
Afshar took up motocross about a year ago after having competed for Afghanistan in athletics when she was younger. She trains with male riders on a barren land surrounded by warehouses and private homes, wearing a white helmet and black and red motorbike suit.
“When I saw the men motorcycling here, I decided to pursue motocross to inspire Afghan women and show that they can do this tough sport as well,” Afshar said during a break from practice.
“I tried to be one of the first women to take this path, and I hope we can encourage others as well.”
Her mother, Frishta Afshar, is the head of the women’s committee of the National Motorcycling Federation of Afghanistan. She and her mother worry that in future it would not be easy for Negin to pursue her passion, with the hardline Islamist Taliban movement bidding for a share of power in a country where it has led a ruthless insurgency since 2001.
When the group ruled Afghanistan in the 1990s, women were not allowed to attend a school or carry out any job. They had to be clad in body covering Burqas when outside their homes.
In recent months the Taliban has projected itself as more moderate, as it seeks to turn battlefield gains into formal recognition.
On asking whether she was concerned about the rights of women being crumbled by the Taliban if they come into power again, Afshar replied:
“God willing, this will not happen, because our government will not allow the Taliban to do so … If they want to violate our rights, we will stand against them and resist. I will not leave my country, and I want to stay here and serve my country.”
Negin’s parents provide their full support to her and encourage her to pursue her dreams.
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